ISIS has threatened Chicago as the Islamist group looks to expand its reach outside of the Middle East and strike out against enemies in the West.
The group, which has now adopted the name Islamic State, has taken over large portions of Iraq and Syria and reportedly killed thousands of civilians. Last week, the group lashed out against the United States, releasing a video showing the beheading of American journalist James Foley.
The group has also made threats to United States soil, sending an ominous tweet that appears to threaten Chicago. The tweet purportedly came from someone connected to ISIS and shows a photo of the Old Republic Building on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.
The text reads:
We are in your state
We are in your cities
We are in your streets
You are our goals anywhere
— قهر الطواغيت (@Sunna_rev) August 9, 2014
Experts believe ISIS terrorists may want to target Chicago as an indirect way to strike out against President Barack Obama.
“Many terror organizations refer to Chicago as Obama Town,” said CBS 2 security expert Ross Rice, a former FBI agent in Chicago, noting that Obama has become a target for his killing of Osama bin Laden and use of drones in the Middle East.
While it is not clear if ISIS has issued any specific threats to Chicago, security experts say the group is capable of attacking the United States.
During a press briefing Thursday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said ISIS is “beyond any terrorist group…. They marry ideology, sophistication of strategic and tactical military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded. Oh, this is beyond anything that we’ve seen, so we must prepare for everything, and the only way you do that is you take a cold, steely hard look at it and get ready.”
There are also reports that ISIS could be planning attacks in other cities, including ones targeting malls. An ISIS sympathizer also tweeted a picture of the organization’s flag displayed on a cell phone in front of the White House.
In Chicago, the ISIS threat reportedly has law enforcement officials on high alert.